Dry curing humidity control: I don't know why I complicate things this much

Over the past few days I've purchased about 3 humidifiers (all used, about $11 total) and experienced a bit of frustration. I thought this was the best time of the year to cure sausage because my basement humidity increases during the midwest's rainy season and continues into the upcoming months (ca. 60°F and 60% RH). Now, I realize I was an idiot. After reading Ruhlman's post on sopressata (it's a fermented sausage, but the dry cure part should be the same for saucisson sec), he uses a simple dorm fridge with a salt bath for curing. The salt in the water (sat'd) only serves to bring down the humidity if it gets over 75% (a museum curator's trick).

With my previous set up, I was shooting for more airflow and humidity. Then I learned that evaporative wick-type humidifiers have a tough time breaking 55%. They work well when the humidity is winter-low, but not so well after that. They operate with a type of theoretical humidistat based on the method of water evaporation. I also tried a centrifugal humidifier where the water is sprayed and atomized in front of a fan. This was another cheapie and worked well, but pegged at 62%. After reading Ruhlman's post, I gave up on airflow and went with the near perfect plastic cylinder you see here (it is not a trash can). A dry run, no sausage suspended - just a humidity meter and I'm getting 70+% RH.

In hindsight, I learned a lot, only blew $11, and have an 8 gal humidifier that can probably humidify the entire house next winter (only $7.13, operates for about a dime a day and, it's very quiet). I guess I've had more expensive lessons.

I now have my curing environment worked out, my 2" dia. casings, and only need to order some mold (Andrew, need anything from Butcher-Packer.com?) and I'm ready.